Thursday, November 26, 2015

Apostasy Defined

For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? (Alma 5:59).

President Faust's frank discussion clearly defines the boundaries of apostate behavior.  There are no ambiguities.  This is not "secret information".

Free discussion and expression are encouraged in the Church. Certainly the open expressions in most fast and testimony meetings, or Sunday School, Relief Society, and priesthood meetings attest to that principle. However, the privilege of free expression should operate within limits...

Though this address was presented many years ago, in the October 1993 General Conference, in light of current events, it becomes even more appropriate as a voice of warning today.

Those men and women who persist in publicly challenging basic doctrines, practices, and establishment of the Church sever themselves from the Spirit of the Lord and forfeit their right to place and influence in the Church...

Whether or not a dissident member is subject to formal discipline by local Church authorities, it is a foregone conclusion that they have already effectively left the Church.  Many of the outspoken dissidents are indignant to find themselves caught in this compromising posture.  It is popular for them to then detail their grievous treatment at the hands of Church members, invariably identifying Church leaders or members as the source of their sorrows.   
There is a certain arrogance in thinking that any of us may be more spiritually intelligent, more learned, or more righteous than the Councils called to preside over us. Those Councils are more in tune with the Lord than any individual persons they preside over, and the individual members of the Councils are generally guided by those Councils...
In our desire to be broad-minded, to be accepted, to be liked and admired, let us not trifle with the doctrines and the covenants which have been revealed to us, nor with the pronouncements of those who have been given the keys of the kingdom of God on earth. For all of us, the words of Joshua ring with increasing relevance. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).  (Keeping Covenants and Honoring the Priesthood).

I am not suggesting to anyone that I feel it appropriate for me to presume to challenge them, or question their worthiness.  I myself am often surprised to find myself skirting the bounds of propriety. My object of pursuit is self-improvement, not intended as critical analysis reflecting on others.  As an imperfect and aspiring disciple of Jesus Christ, striving to keep Heavenly Father's commandments, I take these as opportunities to repent and try to do better.  

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